IF YOU need advice on getting under our national leaders’ skin, just ask Sam Dastyari.
Appearing on KIIS FM’s Kyle & Jackie O show this morning, the former Labor senator shared the Opposition’s secret to getting on Malcolm Turnbull nerves in parliament.
The bizarre tale involves the Prime Minister, a bitter breakup and a series of love letters to a now-deceased cat. As you do.
“This is the famous story. Back in his youth, Malcolm Turnbull had this long-term girlfriend who broke up with him. She had a kitten named Nessy,” said Mr Dastyari.
“When they broke up, Malcolm started writing love letters to the cat to try and win her back.”
He went on to read out a sample letter: “Dear Nessy, Tell your Miss that I love her very much. Tell her when I came to see her on Sunday and she wasn’t there, I cuddled you up and it broke my heart that it wasn’t her. Tell her I know a lot about her current boyfriends. (They) will tell her not to see me. (They) will stroke her back and tell her to forget me. But Nessy, we know she never will, and you tell her, my little cat, how much we were in love.”
A little while later, the cat ended up dead. But no one actually knows how it died.
“One version of the story says that it was strangled, and it was left on her doorstep,” said Mr Dastyari. “No one knows how it was strangled.”
ABC journalist Annabel Crabb once asked the prime minister about the cat’s fate. At the time, he laughed and denied having anything to do with it, adding that he heard the cat was run over by a car. He also added that he was an animal lover who would never hurt an innocent cat.
“Now, if you really want to piss Malcolm off, there’s nothing Malcolm hates more in parliament when he gets up to speak than when you actually hear Labor blokes and others start making cat and ‘meow’ sounds,” said Mr Dastyari.
He did stress that Mr Turnbull sued Fairfax Media in 1981 for alleging that he had strangled the cat, and said there was no proof.
‘THERE’S A LOT OF RUINED MARRIAGES IN CANBERRA’
Mr Dastyari also shed some light on politicians who get frisky in parliament.
“There’s a lot of ruined marriages,” he said. “Life’s complicated, and I don’t want to judge them. I’m not going to name them. But there’s broken-up relationships, broken-up marriages.”
When Kyle mentioned wives finding out about affairs — a reference to the recent Barnaby Joyce scandal — Mr Dastyari interjected: “Well sometimes husbands find out too.”
“I think there’s a real sadness to politics,” he said. “People in it tend to be really sad. They need to be loved, they need the admiration … and that drives you.”
On Mr Joyce, he seemed sympathetic, saying the embattled backbencher’s casting doubts on the paternity of his partner’s baby last week was concerning.
“It’s weird behaviour … I think we have a bloke here who is just breaking down, the way Charlie Sheen did, in front of the public spotlight.”
He said the best thing for Mr Joyce to do would be to quit politics and focus on his personal life.
Mr Dastyari’s appearance on the show apparently made some pollies nervous.
“Do you know how many pollies called me last night and said, ‘Hey, how you doing? Haven’t spoken in months! … Hey, by the way, remember that thing that happened, you’re not going to talk about that, are you?’
“It just revs me up more.”
Originally published as ‘Here’s how to piss off the PM’